Sunday Nov 05, 2023

#22: Elder Activism in a time of Climate Crisis. A Conversation with Leslie Wharton, Roger Luckmann and Jen Chandler of Elders Climate Action

Elders Climate Action (ECA), a grassroots organization founded as project of Elders Action Network in 2014 has taken the lead in activating elders to be educated about and address the growing climate crisis at the federal, state, and local levels – through national policy initiatives and regional chapters.  With a strong emphasis on partnerships - especially intergenerational - ECA addresses climate change while there is still time to protect the well-being of our children, grandchildren, and future generations.


Drawing from their experience as members of Elders Climate Action, Leslie, Roger, and Jen help us explore the work of ECA in our conversation with them today.

Leslie, the Chair of Elders Climate Action, is a retired attorney, a self-described introvert with a PhD in history.  She describes finding her home in ECA as wonderful, like going from a caterpillar to a butterfly. 

Roger is the co-chair of the ECA National Policy Committee.  He came to climate activism after 50 years as a physician, healthcare researcher, and public health practitioner.  He draws inspiration from ECA which has led to him to become involved  as a heat pump coach and decarbonization advocate in his hometown.

Jen is Director of Elders Climate Action and their only salaried employee.  She was introduced to climate change and inspired by her mother, an early member of ECA. Over the past eight years Jen has led the volunteer members of ECA to build a coalition of more than 26,000 elders working across the United States

We would like to thank our sponsor Elders Action Network “Building a movement of elders to address the environmental, governance and social issues of our time”.

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The views, opinions and ideas expressed by our guests during this in any episode are solely their own and do not reflect or represent the positions, beliefs, or policies of any of our podcast sponsors.   Additionally, the content shared by our guests does not necessarily align with or reflect the position or beliefs of the podcast host or the production team behind “The Way Forward: Regenerative Conversations”.

Show Notes:

Jen Chandler is the Director of Elders Climate Action. Over the past eight years Jen has led the volunteer leadership of ECA to build a coalition of more than 26,000 elders working across the United States. She has brought her experience and skills as an non-profit leader, educator, creative, advocate and a lover of the natural world to support, uplift and amplify ECA’s mission and build a movement of Elders who are taking action to protect future generations.

Jen has a Bachelor of Arts in Photography and Adventure Education with a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Nonprofit Leadership. Prior to working in climate action, Jen taught in the Visual Arts and managed the Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse and Visual Arts Center. In her twenties Jen worked as an outdoor guide where she fell in love with the Southwestern United States. She happily splits her time between the central highlands (Prescott) and the northern deserts of the Dine’ nation in (Page) Arizona with her partner, Daniel and best canine companion, Birdie.


Roger came to climate activism and ECA in his third act after 50 years as a physician, healthcare researcher, and public health practitioner. In the ECA Massachusetts chapter he serves on the leadership, legislative adn research team. He is also co-chair of the ECA national policy committee and is a heat pump coach and building decarbonization advocate in his hometown of Natick Massachusetts.

Leslie was born in July 1951 and raised in the countryside north of Philadelphia, where I spent most of the time I was not in school enjoying the trees, fields, babbling brooks and wildlife.  I got a Ph.D in history and then switched gears and went law school, working for 38 years first in private practice and then for a government agency.  I retired at the end of 2021.  


Leslie first heard about climate change in 2007, I assumed that our political leaders act for the public good and institute policies to address climate change.  When I looked again in 2014, I was shocked at how little our governments had done.  That’s when I decided to become a climate activist and joined Elders Climate Action.  As part of the ECA leadership, I work on building and supporting new chapters around the country, building collaborations with other environmental groups, and making ECA a strong voice at the federal, state, county and local level supporting the policies and actions needed to protect our children, grandchildren, and future generations from climate catastrophe.



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